Chavez and Colombia

According to the Associated Press, Venezuela's President Chavez denies that he is aiding Colombia's leftist rebels. He claims the 100,000 rifles and military helicopters that he is buying from Russia is for the strengthening of his own army. Either way, this continues the development of leftist movements militarizing and organizing in an attempt to counter U.S. power in the region.

An interesting Znet article by Constance Viera describes the effects of the Colombian war on the indigenous in the country. The Nasa Indians, who live in the southwestern part of the country and number about 300,000 of the estimated 1 million indigenous of Colombia. The Nasa have recently experienced an influx of violence as the war has moved into their territory. While they have been active in land reforms in the region, the group has continually claimed neutrality in the country's war. Despite this, over 500 Nasa leaders have been killed by the groups involved, including the leftist rebels, the paramilitaries, and even rich landowners of the region. The violence of the war has swept up everyone in its path, including those who want no part of it like the Nasa.

Elsewhere in South America, reporter Ben Dangl describes the alleged construction of a new U.S. military base in Paraguay, although the U.S. denies its existence. Close to the border with Bolivia, where the leftist movement is growing stronger and stronger and a presidential election looms in the near future, many believe the base to be a prelude to U.S. intervention there. You may ask what the issue of dispute in Bolivia is? Natural Gas. The country has huge gas reserves and the U.S. gov't wants to be in a position to protect U.S. interests in the region should a leftist like Evo Morales win the presidency.
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